It is an election year and I am a political junkie. Therefore my inbox runneth over with political emails. Recently I’ve received numerous such emails (from avowedly “progressive” organizations) alerting me to U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s latest hobbyhorse. “Election Day should be a holiday,” says the Massachusetts Democrat, “so no one has to choose between a paycheck and a vote.”
How exciting! A new “birther” controversy motoring over the horizon in our direction! Senator Warren passed on a presidential run this year but enjoyed considerable buzz and may well reconsider in 2020 or 2024. So I’d like to see her birth certificate — long form, please — with a view toward contesting her eligibility. She’s obviously not from this country and probably not even from this planet.
The federal government recognizes ten holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Inauguration Day (in years following presidential elections), Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
How many of those do you get off work?
Unless you’re a government employee (or work for a bank), the answer is almost certainly “not all of them.” And the further down the income and prestige scales your job is, the more likely the answer is “only a few of them, and usually without pay.”
Senator Warren would presumably know this if she was from, lived in, or even spent much time visiting the United States.
Surely she would have, at one point or another, shopped at Walmart, or eaten at McDonald’s, or taken in a film (most theaters are open EVERY day, Christmas being the busiest day of the year in the movie business), or traveled by air, or hailed a taxi on a holiday.
And when she did any of those things, how could she conceivably have avoided noticing the people who make it possible for her to do those things? You know, the workers whose job title isn’t “U.S. Senator?”
Warren’s proposal wouldn’t make it any easier to vote for anyone who has a hard time voting now. The people who have a hard time voting are the people who don’t get new government holidays off work with pay just because a light bulb comes on in Elizabeth Warren’s head.
Early voting makes voting easier. Relaxed rules for absentee voting make voting easier. Voting by mail makes voting easier. Turning “Election Day” into two full days, 48 hours from midnight Friday night to midnight Sunday night, would make voting easier.
Calling for Election Day to be made a federal holiday, on the other hand, just gives people good reason to wonder if perhaps U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is proof of extra-terrestrial life. And disproof of extra-terrestrial intelligence.
Thomas L. Knapp
William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism